Human intestinal epithelial cell-derived molecule(s) increase enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli virulence

Tarun Bansal, Dae N. Kim, Tim Slininger, Thomas K. Wood, Arul Jayaraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To better understand the role of host cell-derived molecules on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infection, we studied EHEC virulence gene expression when exposed to cell-free spent (conditioned) medium (CM) from HCT-8 intestinal epithelial cells. Exposure to HCT-8 CM for 1 h and 3 h increased the expression of 32 of 41 EHEC locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) virulence genes compared with fresh medium (FM). Expression of the Shiga toxin 1 (stx1B) gene was up-regulated at 1 h of exposure. Seventeen genes encoded by prophage 933W, including those for Stx2, were also up-regulated at both time-points. The increase in 933W prophage expression was mirrored by a 2.7-fold increase in phage titers. Consistent with the increase in virulence gene expression, we observed a fivefold increase in EHEC attachment to epithelial cells when exposed to CM. The increase in EHEC attachment was abolished when CM was heated to 95 °C or treated with proteinase K to degrade the proteins. The host cell-derived molecule(s) were larger than 3 kDa, which suggests that the molecule(s) that increase EHEC virulence and attachment are protein-based.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-410
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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